From EPSA - European Public Sector Award


Canton Glarus is now equipped to face the challenges of the future. The municipal structures have been fundamentally streamlined and 25 village municipalities, 18 educational corporations, 16 social service corporations and 9 natural citizens’ corporations have merged to form three large and strong municipalities. The directive for the municipal structural reform was given by the Glarner citizens at the citizens’ assembly in 2006 and confirmed at the irregular citizens’ assembly in 2007. In only a few years Canton Glarus has been given completely new municipal structures. In this connection there was a clarification of the tasks allocated to the municipalities and the Canton, an optimisation of the financial channels and an improvement in the public services. On 1 January 2010 the newly elected authorities of Glarus south, Glarus and Glarus north started working in order to prepare themselves for the scheduled start of their municipality a year later. On 1 July 2010 they finally took over the duties from the authorities of the former municipalities. More than 500 Glarner people worked on this reform project for four years. At the end of 2010 the project phase was completed and on 1 January 2011 the three new municipalities officially ’took off’.

The municipal structural reform has strengthened the Canton, the municipalities and the citizens at all levels. The residents enjoy the benefits of a good and professional infrastructure and an up-to-date public service, and the children have a modern school system at their disposal. Industry profits from improved general provisions and the municipalities have become more powerful and self-assertive. All three municipalities have a collective municipal archive, a collective electronic information system and collective technical services as well as old age and nursing homes. The chances for the Canton Glarus have markedly improved in respect of the competitive situation regarding the location of industry and housing. The structure of the municipalities was optimised; provisions were made for a more efficient, professional and accessible structure. The social and welfare services have been under the administration of the Canton since 2008 and have now all become more professional. The municipalities and the Canton have a uniform financial administration law by decree. It is now possible to compare the accounts. Together, all can benefit from the efficient and therefore economical utilisation of the financial resources.

The Canton Glarus has become more competitive and is an excellent residential and industrial location. The radical reform caused a sensation across the whole of Switzerland. This is seen in the comments in the Swiss press. ‘Glarus wipes out 22 municipalities’ was the title in the Tages Anzeiger. The Neue Zürcher Zeitung wrote of an ’exciting surprise’, and that the citizens had unexpectedly shown themselves to be liberal and reform friendly. The ‘Blick’ commented that ‘the Glarner had revolutionised their Canton’ and the ‘St. Galler Tagblatt’ wrote ‘no other Canton has in a short space of time made such substantial changes as Glarus’. Even in the French-speaking part of Switzerland the decision of the citizens’ assembly was acknowledged. The L’Express’ in Neuchâtel wrote: Un vent de révolution a soufflé sur la Landsgemeinde de Glaris.

Award info
Award category: smart public service delivery
Award type: submission
Award year: 2011
Project type
Sector: Public administration, modernisation, institutional affairs, reform
Type of activity:
Keywords: Municipal structural reform
Short English description: The Canton Glarus has become more competitive and is an excellent residential and industrial location. The radical reform caused a sensation across the whole of Switzerland.
Further information
Organisation: Canton Glarus
Other applicants:
Level of government: regional level
Size of organisation: >100
Number of people involved: >15
Country: Switzerland
EU membership: other European country
Language code: en
Start date:
End date:

GL2011 (47.0404212, 9.0672155)
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